Robert Mitchum stars in the Peter Yates crime classic adapted from the George V. Higgins novel

‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), adapted from the terrific novel by George V. Higgins and produced in the wake of The French Connection, is probably the least heralded crime movie classic of the seventies. Robert Mitchum is Eddie ‘Fingers’ Coyle, a middleman working the fringes of the Boston underworld while awaiting sentencing, which prompts […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Criterion Channel

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

‘Two Days, One Night’ on Hulu

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne developed their own stable of actors when they moved from documentaries to fiction films about working class folks and life on the margins of society—Olivier Gourmet and Jérémie Renier have both gone on to great success—but steered clear of working with major movie stars. Until Two Days, One Night, with bona-fide […]

Patricia Neal, John Garfield, and Juano Hernandez in a film by Michael Curtiz

Blu-ray: ‘The Breaking Point’ on Criterion

The Breaking Point (1950), the second of three big screen adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, stars John Garfield as Harry Morgan, the role that Humphrey Bogart played in the original. The Howard Hawks film took great liberties with Hemingway’s story. This version is more faithful but takes its own liberties. Harry […]

Ivor Novello in Alfred Hitchcock's 1926 silent movie thriller.

Blu-ray: ‘The Lodger’ – Alfred Hitchcock begins on Criterion

The Lodger (1926) isn’t the first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock—it’s actually his third, though it does mark his first feature produced in Britain after directing two co-productions in Germany—but even Hitchcock embraced it as the first “Alfred Hitchcock film.” He announces his arrival in the cinematic jolt of the opening scene: a close-up of […]

Adam Sandler and Emily Watson star in Paul Thomas Anderson's offbeat romantic comedy

‘Punch-Drunk Love’ on Netflix

Paul Thomas Anderson, fresh off the critical successes of Boogie Nights and Magnolia, wrote Punch-Drunk Love (2002) for Adam Sandler while he was riding high on the success of doofus comedies. He channels the familiar Sandler personas—the meek boy-man, the repressed powerkeg who explodes with uncontrollable rage, the mumble mouth goofball, the socially retarded misfit—into […]

Malcolm McDowell stars in the film by Lindsay Anderson

‘If…’ – Malcolm McDowell rebels on Amazon Prime

Lindsay Anderson captured the fancy of a generation of British youth with If… (1968), his savage satire of the regimented British education system and bullying “public” schools. In 1968 the time and tenor was ripe for a rebel yell, but while the picture stands a rallying cry for a generation, its celebration of individualism and […]

Anna Magnani in Roberto Rossellini's Rome Open City

Blu-ray: ‘Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy’ on The Criterion Collection

Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (Criterion). Roberto Rossellini had been a journeyman director working within Mussolini’s Italian film industry when he redefined his career and all but inaugurated the neo-realist movement with this trio of films made at the end of World War II. Though he was no partisan, he started working on Rome Open City […]

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett , and Taraji P. Henson star in the film by David Fincher

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story is expanded into a sweeping survey of 20th century history and culture as seen through the eyes of a man who is born old and grows younger through the century. Brad Pitt completely commits to the part of the old/young man who […]